For a movie shot in paradise, ”The Beach” had its share of hellish days. The production, which took place on and around a Thai island, had to contend with unfavorable weather, protesters upset about the movie’s potential impact on the local environment, and a damaged boat that nearly sank at sea with DiCaprio on board. Plus, being a Leo film, this adaptation of Alex Garland’s 1997 novel (starring DiCaprio as a traveler seduced by a dangerous island society) did attract a bit of media attention.
”It was generally a surreal experience,” says director Boyle (”Trainspotting”), who urged his crew to avoid unwanted headlines. ”Everybody was warned from Leo downwards that they had to behave absolutely perfectly in Thailand. We made it clear how problematic it would be if the media discovered any of our cast or crew members in a sex club or something.” Ultimately, DiCaprio’s presence was a good thing, of course; it turned what was essentially an art-house drama into an Event.
Some thought even a blessed event: When Virginie Ledoyen, the beautiful French import who plays DiCaprio’s love interest, arrived at the airport in Thailand, she was greeted by frenzied reporters. ”Even though Virginie hadn’t met Leo before,” says producer Andrew Macdonald, ”they wanted to know, ‘How does it feel to be pregnant with Leo’s baby?”’ BUZZ FACTOR: 9
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